It's after midnight. There is no reason for me to be up this late. But it's quiet and I'm thinking...
My sister, Lila, called me tonight. It's Sunday morning in Armenia. Darrin, the kids, and I have been talking about her, missing her--which is appropriate anytime, but especially during holidays when families often gather.
Lila is my opposite. She's six feet tall, blue eyed and blond. Her bone structure is large and she's beautiful and strong. The only things we share, genetically, are crazy curly hair (which I straighten and she does not), a love and gift for music, IQ level, voice quality (especially the sound of our laughter), and our sense of humor (which isn't genetic, I know, but still--we share it).
Shortly after I miscarried last year, Lila announced she was pregnant. I didn't want to hear about it.
Lila and I have both had difficulty conceiving, however once Lila's babies were growing, they didn't want to be born. Mine have tried to get a look at the world beginning with week 22.
My children were small, as premature babies are. DJ has grown the largest in breadth, but Adam matches him in height. I've been happy that in spite of their short parents, both boys are above 5-foot-10. Tabitha will be lucky to hit my amazing height of 62 inches.
Lila's children are giants. Her three-year-old son is fifty pounds and he's 42 inches tall. He's as large as the average first-grader. My eleven-year-old niece towers over me, and her eight-year-old sister looks me in the eye.
Lila has spent her married life living in different countries as she went with her husband wherever he was stationed. He's worked in counter-intelligence for the military for fifteen years, but no one's really certain what he does. They've lived in different places throughout Europe and Asia and my brother-in-law spent long periods of time in Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been times when Lila, herself, has not known where he was stationed, nor was she allowed to contact him.
Lila has weathered all this with courage and grace while she took care of their children and wondered if/when she would see her husband again. She's sort of my hero.
When they received the assignment to go to Armenia, Lila thought this would be just another adventure for their family. Then my brother-in-law was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and Lila got pregnant. Thyroid cancer is curable and most who get it survive. However, the treatment for the cancer is intense and difficult, and regaining strength afterward takes a very long time. Add to this the burden of moving with a small family, including a new baby, to a country which doesn't even share the same alphabet.
Lila is tired and lonely.
And she called me tonight to tell me that when she feels tired and lonely, or her kids are misbehaving, or she fights with her husband, or money is tight...she thinks of me, and wonders what I would do in that situation, and this is what she told me:
"I love your relationships with Darrin, and how you parent your kids, and how--no matter what happens--you're still happy and people love to be with you. I want to be like that."
How about that. I might be a hero to my hero. Maybe we both have Wonder Woman boots.